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Amusing Injuries
aka: Amusing Injury

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He's also known for being buffoonish.

Vision: It's funny because of the grievous injuries that man just suffered?
Wanda: No—he's not really injured.
Vision: Ah. How can you be certain?
Wanda: It's not that kind of show.
WandaVision, "Previously On", as Wanda and Vision watch the Malcolm in the Middle episode "Health Insurance"


Injuries in classic cartoons and slapstick comedies never have any lasting effects, are only painful for a short while, and are often a source of visual humor. Occasionally, you will see a character in traction or on crutches or sporting Instant Bandages; however, this is strictly for punctuating a gag or putting a cap on an episode, and will never last more than 10 seconds. Gunshots and explosives in particular can lead to Amusing Injuries; what would normally destroy a large chunk of someone's face in real life often does little more than blow soot all over a cartoon character. Guns in these shows often inexplicably emit directed explosions to the face rather than firing bullets.

This can lead to very jarring circumstances within a show. Like say when the plot of an episode rides on a character getting injured and taken out of an event, or when there's a character who's a physician of all things, or in the rare event that a permanent death actually occurs. It'll be treated at least somewhat seriously in that particular instance, but next thing you know it, they're back to jumping off cliffs and juggling chainsaws. ...Or trying to see if they can do both at the same time.


Sometimes, it can also involve a huge Double Standard. A male character will often suffer them at the hands of a female, who can punch/kick/beat/attack him as much as she wants and it'll be often taken as mere comedy. Try imagining the same situation with a Gender Flip... yeah, people will be up in arms. See Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male. If it does regularly happen to a woman, it is also a case of Slapstick Knows No Gender.

Amusing Injuries are usually healed via Negative Continuity. A character who is constantly suffering them is often an Iron Butt Monkey. A common variety is The Pratfall. Can overlap with Groin Attack (possibly with Instant Soprano) and Ass Shove. Required for Hyperspace Mallet and Megaton Punch. Extremely common in a Plank Gag. Cranial Eruption is a subtrope. Compare with Inconvenient Itch. Contrast Bloody Hilarious, for when serious injuries are Played for Laughs, and This Index is a Real Pain.



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Other examples:

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  • Subverted in this ad campaign by the NSPCC, which combines footage of a real actor physically abusing a terrified cartoon child. The child reacts with Amusing Injuries throughout, until the very end, where a real kid lies in a broken heap at the bottom of the stairs. It's downright uncomfortable to watch.
  • At the end of each Pepsiman commercial, Pepsiman would receive one of these, which was also applied to the Pepsi can at the end. For example, in one commercial, he hits his head on a window, with the Pepsi can having a dent in the top. One action figure bizarrely titled "The Fuct of Pepsiman" actually came with a crutch.

    Asian Animation 
  • Some of the humor in Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf comes from the many different ways that Wolffy gets hurt, such as being hit with frying pans, being trampled, being bitten by piranhas, etc. Other characters also have amusing injuries to a lesser extent. Of course, none of these injuries have any long effects on the characters and they're always better in the next scene.

    Comic Strips 
  • A standard Beetle Bailey gag has Sergeant Snorkel pound the daylights out of Beetle as a punishment for laziness or insubordination, whereupon Beetle ends up as a shapeless mass of limbs, hands and feet twisted in anatomically impossible ways. And with missing teeth. Sometimes such or other injuries in the comic are "unamusing" enough to end in a hospital trip, but only if a joke requires it.
  • Similarly, in FoxTrot Jason would often be beaten up by his sister Paige, ending up with some bruises and broken glasses.
  • This trope is par for the course in many classic comic strips, which (being static and somewhat trite) would arguably be less funny for lack of them. You could probably make a Drinking Game out of all the times Calvin opened the door and announced "I'M HO-OME!" only for Hobbes to tackle him and roll around with him in a Big Ball of Violence until Calvin was thoroughly bruised and his clothes were partially shredded. Didn't happen so much in Peanuts (as Charles Schulz preferred to dish out psychological pain to his characters), but occasionally someone (usually Linus) would get knocked on his ass by a punch or a wild baseball pitch and have cartoon "whirlies" orbiting around his head.
  • Fearless Fosdick from Li'l Abner is regularly depicted getting shot to the point where he has so many bullet holes, one might easily mistake him piece of swiss cheese come to life. Despite this, he never appears to seriously be hurt.

    Fan Works 
  • The Bolt Chronicles: Soapy's attempts to get himself arrested so he can spend the winter in a warm jail cell are continually thwarted in "The Clouds." Among other indignities, he gets whacked repeatedly on the head with an umbrella by a woman whose groceries he tries to pilfer.
  • In Calvin and Hobbes: The Series, Calvin runs into a closed door head-first at one point.
  • In an episode of A Day in the life of a Commissar, a Dawn of War machinima, an Imperial Guardsman is panicking because his unit is under artillery barrage. A shell goes off beside him, and he flies through the air, squealing "Wheeeeeee!" as if on a ride.
  • Dueling Trigger Finger: By the time he catches up to Nagito, the Rare Hunter that was chasing him has been bit by a dog, trampled, fallen into a river and caught a cold, got bird poop in his eye, hit by a car and knocked over a man's cabbage stand. Marik really ought to offer him hazard pay for all that he had to go through.
  • In Kyon: Big Damn Hero, Achakura has been drowned, hit across the room, among other lethal attacks, mostly by Yuki. She survives them all unscathed, because she doesn't have a physical body.
  • Tiberium Wars reveals the true reason the lighting is so low in Nod bases: Kane loves the sound of people whacking their shins on tables.
  • Total Drama: Unfinished Business: This being a fanfic of the Total Drama series, there are too many instances of this to count.
  • Trixie Vs: Trixie ends up with half her face bruised, after panicking and running head first into a rock (this is implied to have happened multiple times) after realizing she's stuck on The Moon.
  • Ultra Fast Pony is based on My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, which had plenty of amusing injuries to begin with. UFP manages to escalate this in the episode "Ponynet Fight!": Twilight Sparkle gets a flowerpot, an anvil, a cart full of hay bales, and a piano dropped on her head. Upon regaining consciousness, she declares, "Look really I didn't the brain damage!" Seconds later, she returns to full lucidity.

    Films — Animation 
  • During the Training Montage of "I'll Make a Man Out of You" in Mulan, Yao gets his buttock pierced by a burning arrow, which is played for laughs. This is particularly notable since Mulan's stomach wound later is not only played for drama, but also a major plot point.
  • In Epic Ozzie bumps into things constantly on account of his lacking depth perception and reduced mobility.
  • Judy's Failure Montage in Zootopia, has many painful injuries showing how she is struggling with her training but her toilet mishap is clearly played for laughs.
  • This is basically LeFou's life in Beauty and the Beast, almost entirely at the hands of Gaston.
  • Justified in Coco; the inhabitants of the Land of the Dead are "living" skeletons, and so they don't react to injuries the same way as the living.
  • In Franklin and the Green Knight, Bear and Goose are excited about the idea of Franklin getting a sibling, but Beaver comments that babies aren't fun all the time. Goose replies that babies aren't that bad. Bear agrees and he and Goose start singing the song "Brothers and Sisters" about their own experience with younger siblings, but Beaver decides to make her point physically..
    Bear: Hey, Franklin, I've got a sister, I hug her when she cries...
    Beaver: Then when she's feeling better, she hits him in the eye!
    Bear: Beaver!
    Goose: Hey, Franklin, I've got a sister, we like to play hide-and-seek...
    Beaver: And if you're not too careful, he bonks you on the beak!
    Goose: Ow! Beaver!

  • In the third book of the Knight and Rogue Series Michael subjects himself to this when he starts destroying magica plants. The various punishments he recieves involve many painful instincts and, on one occaison, a skunk.
  • The entire purpose of Mr Bump of the Mr. Men.
  • In Christopher Buckley's political satire The White House Mess, President Tucker bloodlessly averts a terrorist insurrection in Bermuda by spraying a Knockout Gas. The only injury is a woman whose face was burned, because she fell asleep on her waffle iron.
  • In Harry Potter, because of medical magic almost any injury not instantly fatal is fixable. Generally averted with any injury serious enough to require a trip to St. Mungo's, however.
  • Justified in The Zombie Knight, because servants can recover from almost any injury, and can just be resurrected if they are killed.
  • Nightmare Hour: How the clown and audience respond to Christopher in "Afraid of Clowns", as well as any other previous victims, thinking it is an act (the audience only) but all the while very droll, but of course, not to the victim, and of course, it is not just an act.
  • In the Doctor Who Expanded Universe novel The Crooked World, the TARDIS lands in a world where Cartoon Physics is the norm... for its inhabitants (at least at first), who can get machinegunned at point blank range and only come out with some soot on the face. The TARDIS crew, on the other hand, is not that lucky.
  • In the Spy School novels Spyder agent Joshua Hallal is assumed dead at the end of the second book. He returns near the beginning of the third with an artificial leg, a hook hand and an eyepatch (which he got swatting at a fly on his face before he'd gotten used to the hook and continues to suffer injuries every time he clashes with the heroes, on one occasion breaking his remaining arm and leg.

  • The Smiths' "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before" describes the narrator suffering terrible injuries and getting sent to the hospital. Somehow it manages to be very funny anyway.
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic often (but not always) mentions these in his songs (including both parodies and original songs), especially in his song "You Don't Love Me Anymore".note  They also appear in his videos (sometimes).

  • In Diner, shooting the Grill when it is not lit makes a noise of someone burning himself on a hot griddle and then screaming.
  • Big Bang Bar frequently depicts various amusing injuries from its alien patrons, either as they imbibe their various drinks or simply mingle with each other.
  • In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy's spinning house includes the feet of the Wicked Witch of the East sticking out from underneath.
  • Scratchy suffers these on the playfield of Data East's The Simpsons.
  • In The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends, missing the Skill Shot results in Bullwinkle getting pelted in the face with various objects.
  • 3-D Ultra Pinball: Creep Night has various mischievous goblins running around the playfield. Hitting them with the pinball causes them to suffer various Amusing Injuries.
  • Daffy Duck is repeatedly pelted with basketballs in Space Jam

    Print Media 
  • During the final months of his time as president of the United States, The Onion ran several news blurbs about George W. Bush suffering increasingly improbable injuries, such as having his eyelid nailed to a wall, being attacked by a crocodile, and being hit by a crashing plane. All ending with him recovering comfortably at Bethesda Naval Hospital.

  • There was an old radio show featuring the Story Lady, whose job it was to tell short stories, generally with some very weird twists. The fillers used this trope a great deal: Story Lady is very prone to losing her temper and when she does, the only target is generally her hapless partner, who announces the segments. She has no qualms about hitting him with books, beating him out of her path with her bare fists, breaking his limbs, or actually shooting him if he doesn't do what she wants fast enough. No mention of these injuries is brought up later, and they're always, always played for laughs.

    Visual Novels 
  • In YU-NO Takuya occasionally gets pissed at what other people tell him and punches them in the face. After doing so, he assures them that they had some kind of bug on their face and gets a thank you in response while the injured party offhandedly mentions that they have a chipped tooth or compound fracture now.

    Web Animation 
  • Banana-nana-Ninja!: Seppuku is impaled or otherwise exposed to hilarious harm in almost every episode he appears in. In the accompanying game Dueling Ninjas, every loss scenario for Seppuku involves him being impaled (except for one, where he chokes on Master Fuji's chopstick).
  • In Harry Partridge's Twitter cartoon, he threatens to do terrible things to a Cockney orphan. The orphan's response?
    Orphan: Don't worry about me, folks! I'm animated!
Somewhat subverted, however...
Harry: (complete with eyes sewn shut) But the pain will be more than real...
  • DSBT InsaniT sometimes uses this trope, such as Whitney crashing into a tree on her Jet Pack or Frog hitting a rock while surfboarding.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Amusing Injury


Bobby McFerrin

"This is more exciting than that time I saw Bobby Mcferrin fall down all those stairs."

How well does it match the trope?

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Main / AmusingInjuries

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Main / AmusingInjuries